I have two movie rules. My aunt has similar rules in her apartment. At my Aunt’s, there is to be no Wheel of Fortune on the TV. I could probably watch hardcore porn at my Aunt’s but for some reason some Vanna White earns you an immediate dismissal. My two movie rules are:
1) No Retards
2) No Southerners
Before you ask. I definitely have never seen Forrest Gump although sometimes I feel that I should just so I can discuss the subject intelligently. Another movie that broke both rules was Sling Blade, which every told me was brilliant and a must see. Hated that movie. I’ve never been so bored in my life outside of any discussion that wasn’t about bookshelves. The only part of the movie I like was when he said “I shore do like them French fried pertaters” and I didn’t even like that all that much.
This comes up again because I just saw an ad for a very special broadcast movie about a heroic retarded man as played by the great actor William Macy. Oh my the pain, the pain. Actor’s love playing retarded people because the more affected you are the more people can tell how great an actor you are. See Rain Man, My Left Foot, I Am Sam, and a million other award winners and nominations. The whole thing just always makes me cringe in horror. I hate the affectation of the actors, I hate the cutesy semi-clever jokes they let the retarded character tell, I hate how they almost always portray the retarded people as amazingly noble despite their mental defects, and I hate thinking about how horrible I would feel if I had a retarded child. People who have retarded children and deal with it well are heroes to me. There is this former baseball player Rex Hudler, who has a child with Down’s Syndrome and he’s just a great dad and always talking about how special he feels that his son is. Robert Horry of the Lakers has an eight year old daughter who can’t speak, walk, or eat by itself and he has devoted his whole life and tons of money to her treatment. I admit it. I’m not a Saint. The whole thing just depresses me and I’m not sure how I would handle it if it happened to me.
Sometimes it comes off as ingenuous too. Recently there was much discussion of how A Beautiful Mind whitewashed the life of it’s brilliant but schizophrenic hero. Personally, I’m all for being as honest as possible. I’m sure you all have seen the movie Awakenings. Robert DeNiro isn’t really retarded in that movie, but then again he sort of is. In Awakenings, Robin Williams gives Robert DeNiro’s character some experimental medicine and brings him out of a coma like state. At the end of the movie, Robert DeNiro lags back into the coma like state and we are meant to feel real offended that the hospital refused to let Dr. Robin up his dosage. In the movie, Robert DeNiro’s character comes off almost saint like. It’s almost as if his disease has given him insight on life that those of us who didn’t sink into dehabilitating coma states have missed. A couple months later I read that the real patient that the DeNiro character was based on was less than angelic. The article I read said that he was constantly swearing, masturbating, and threatening people. Personally, I felt a little bit cheated. Next I’ll find out something really upsetting about my heroes like John F Kennedy cheated on his wife or Joe DiMaggio was physically abusive to Marilyn Monroe.
As for the Southerner thing, I think I hate movies about Southerners because every movie either portrays them as evil or semi-retarded. Hell, I’ve already mentioned that I loved the Andy Griffith Show, but look at the characters on that show. Gomer and Goober are just this side of retarded themselves. Floyd is the most senile man on the planet. Barney is Barney. Otis is the town drunk and he’s smarter than Barney. I haven’t even come close to discussing Ernest T Bass yet.
Despite all this I found myself really wanting to go see The Divine Secret of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. Maybe I’m getting soft. Luckily all the reviews came out and were almost as bad as those for Scooby Doo and Freddy Got Fingered so it was an easy pass.
Another reason I felt that I had to broach the retardation issue is the current Supreme Court decision making it illegal to inflict the death penalty on retarded criminals. I heard this Rush Limbaugh wannabe on the radio all upset about this. How upset can you really get about not executing retarded people? I’m more concerned about how restaurants treat those lobsters they keep alive in aquariums before they let you choose one to eat than I am overly concerned that we flip the switch on all those evil retarded offenders of crime. Then again a movie about an evil murdering retarded person with no conscious. That movie I’d probably go check out.